The GOP is to Blame for Congressional Paralysis
By Brian Conners
Progressive America Rising via Yahoo Opinion
I'd like to say that each side is at blame, but that simply isn't true and I'll support this claim with data from recent history, not conjecture.
The March 1, 2010 article "The Problem with Filibusters--The Negative Impact of Political Obstructionism" lays out the facts and blames the GOP.
The article states "According to White House Communications Director, Dan Pfeiffer, the Senate cast more votes to break filibusters last year than in the entire 1950s and '60s combined. Politically savvy citizens observe that obstructionism is an increasing problem."
How can Congress help us if the GOP is obstructing every piece of legislation that the Democrats offered? The article states " Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island stated to the NewYork Times, "Republicans are dedicated soley to blocking legislative proposals for political purposes. He further stated on the Senate floor, "We have crossed the mark of over 100 filibusters and acts of procedural obstruction in less than one year. Never since the founding of the Republic, not even in the bitter sentiments preceding Civil War, was such a thing ever seen in this body."
Many people will say that the Democrats are proposing legislation that the GOP is entirely against-therefore they are partially to blame. Again, that is simply not the case.
Let's look at the piece of legislation that the GOP demonized most dramatically. Remember "Death Panels"? That's pretty dramatic, and t he same pattern of obstruction was implemented by the GOP against every Democratic initiative.. The Affordable Care Act had many segments that the GOP supported in the past. Why do I say that?President Obama used GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney's Massachusetts initi ative as a model for his and GOP President Nixon, in conjunction with Ted Kennedy, proposed universal health care as the article " The Nixon-Kennedy Health Care Plan" illustrates.
The article relating to the book "'It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With The New Politics of Extremism'" illustrates that each side isn't partially to blame.
Whenever I hear a speech or read a book I want to know what group is paying the speaker or author. The authors of the book are respected by both the Democrats and Republicans as Thomas E. Mann has been a part of a left-leaning organization--the Brookings Institution and Norman J. Ornstein a right-leaning organization--American Enterprise Institute.
Supposes a blind person is robbed. Is he as responsible for the crime as the thief? According to these bipartisan authors, the same comparison is appropriate in regards to the paralysis of Congress.
The article states "Both have cultivated Democratic and Republican senators and House members to help them figure out the workings of the legislative branch…Republicans once took them as seriously as Democrats did."
We've become so accustomed to thinking that in government there are always two sides to the problem. The political show "Crossfire", among others, always gave both sides equal time in discussing a problem, which made us think that each was partially at fault. That simply isn't correct.
The article states "Now Mann and Ornstein have decided that the time has come to abandon the evenhandedness still fashionable among political journalists (as opposed to the partisan talking heads and bloggers now so popular)….
Their principal conclusion is unequivocal: Today's Republicans in Congress behave like a parliamentary party in a British-style parliament, a winner-take-all system. But a parliamentary party - "ideologically polarized, internally unified, vehemently oppositional" - doesn't work in a "separation-of-powers system that makes it extremely difficult for majorities to work their will."
Remember that Bush 43 gave his beloved "Turd Blossom", Karl Rove, a dual leadership position never before imagined in US politics. Rove was both chief political strategist and deputy White House chief of staff in charge of both policy and politics. Rove always talked about the "perpetual campaign" and "permanent GOP advantage". It is not a surprise that a "Party of No" came into being with Rove as their precursor.
The article states "These Republicans "have become more loyal to party than to country," the authors write, so "the political system has become grievously hobbled at a time when the country faces unusually serious problems and grave threats. . . . The country is squandering its economic future and putting itself at risk because of an inability to govern effectively."
The GOP doesn't even pretend to govern. They only obstruct!
The article concludes "And now, as Mann and Ornstein document so vividly, at a time when only good government could help us rediscover our footing as a nation, our Grand Old Party defines itself as the party of anti-government. This is why the title of this book is so good: Our situation really is even worse than it looks."
I have substantiated that the GOP is using filibusters and acts of procedural obstruction to paralyze Congress. I have proven that the GOP is opposed to initiatives they earlier supported. Those two are the only components in this paralysis of Congress.
Make no mistake that there is a false equivalence regarding Congressional paralysis. When the "Party of No" states its primary policy is to make President Obama a one-term President and obstructs all efforts to govern the country, the GOP is solely at fault.